By Susan Eaddy
Traditional wisdom of the day says… keep those picture books short. Hone that story down to 500 words or less. In these days of short texts and shorter attention spans… is there a place for the longer picture book?
As an author who tends to be more long-winded, that is a question I have asked myself many times. The wise Anita Silvey has written an insightful piece about this very question. My own personal belief is that yes, there IS a place for the longer picture book . Picture storybooks can hold up to repeated reading. The stories are often more complex, take more delicious time to build and need more time to unravel to a satisfying conclusion. Bedtime reading can be comprised of a single book; one story that a child can ponder with lots of pictures to study.
Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo and Harry Bliss
We get four stories for the price of one as we follow our heroine to exotic locales.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Who doesn’t adore Lilly! And even though the illustrations are richly detailed, the story & characters blossom under colorful descriptions like this:
“Mr. Slinger was sharp as a tack.
He wore artistic shirts.
He wore glasses on a chain around his neck.
And he wore a different colored tie for each day of the week.”
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson illustrated by E.B. Lewis
This is an achingly beautiful story about regret and the impact of kindness. For a lump in your throat listen to Jacqueline Woodson read the story in her new role as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! By Carmen Agra Deedy and Eugene Yelchin
Told in the style of a folk tale, the underlying message celebrates freedom from bullying and repression.
Often longer books are based on true stories, biographies or non-fiction. Here are a few more favorites.
Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall
Another story within a story.
Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson
A true story from the underground railroad.
That Book Woman by Heather Henson and David Small
This Pack Horse Librarian in the Appalachian mountains makes an impact on even the most reluctant reader.
So You Want to be President? by Judith St. George and David Small
This combination of history sprinkled with oddball facts, hilariously illustrated by Caldecott winner David Small, makes this overview of our presidents, anything but boring.
Susan is giving away a signed copy of Poppy’s Best Paper and a clay illustrated book TBD. To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must comment on each post, be registered by March 4, and consistently read picture books throughout the challenge.
Susan writes picture books and plays with clay in her attic studio. Her clay critters inhabit pizza boxes & she’s pretty sure they frolic while the humans sleep. As a former Art Director she won international 3D illustration awards and a Grammy nomination. Her clay-illustrated trade books include, My Love for You is the Sun and Papa Fish’s Lullaby. She is the author of Poppy’s Best Paper illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet.(Charlesbridge), Poppy’s Best Babies, (2018) and Eenie Meenie Halloweenie (Harper Collins-2020.)
She is the Regional Advisor for the Midsouth (SCBWI) and also serves on the International SCBWI Bologna Team. Susan loves to travel, and has done school visits all over the world, including Taiwan, Brazil, Hong Kong and of course the USA!